James Harden already Hall of Fame worthy? | Bonehead Picks

Is James Harden already Hall of Fame worthy?

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The 2017-18 NBA Most Valuable Player has been on a tear. Houston Rockets guard James Harden has earned yet another Western Conference of the Week honor after a terrific stretch of games that were part of an excellent December. He had a December to remember because according to the Elias Sports Bureau research, Harden joined Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant as the only players in the past three decades to score at least 400 points over a 10-game span. One of the most interesting players in recent NBA history, it is now reasonable to wonder if James Harden has done enough that if he retired tomorrow he would be headed to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

In every professional sport, there are active players whose credentials and impact on their respective sport would put them into the Hall of Fame if they decided to retire the next day. Guys like Dwyane Wade, Alexander Ovechkin, and Tom Brady can prepare their Hall of Fame speeches now but evaluating the case of James Harden is a bit different. Few NBA players in history can boast having both an NBA MVP and NBA Sixth Man of the Year awards on their resume but Harden does. His career on Oklahoma City did not signal that he would be a future MVP but he has been impressive since becoming a Houston Rocket.

Since joining the Houston Rockets, James Harden has continued to build a case into becoming the second best Rocket of all time behind NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon. Harden ranks in the top five of several of the franchise’s all-time categories including points, assists, and steals. The Houston Rockets have plenty of quality NBA history and players as a franchise so that is impressive. It is  NBA credentials that also make the NBA’s most famous beard Hall of Fame worthy as well. Not only is James Harden a six-time All-Star, he is a five-time All-NBA player including being All-NBA first team four times.

One of the offensive dynamos of the past five years in the NBA, James Harden is hurt by his defensive reputation. There have been YouTube “lowlights” of Harden on defense that have led to the perception that he is terrible defender. Of course in sports, perception often isn’t reality as his defense is much better than his reputation suggests. The Hall of Fame case for James Harden is helped in the age of advanced statistics and the website, Basketball-Reference.com calculates that his Hall of Fame Probability is well over 90 percent.

 

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